Aarhus Universitets segl

Sara Gallegos Buenrostro (CSS Student) presents her poster: "Examining Gender Bias in STEM Education: A Case Study of Physics Textbooks"

Fifth Conference of Nordic Network for Diversity in Physics, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, May 24-25, 2023


Textbooks are a traditional method of communicating knowledge. Besides transferring educational information, they also carry values, concepts, and ideologies, acting as a medium for communicating the reality of a culture, validating roles in society, and defining identities. An overview of academic perspectives on gender representation in science textbooks is provided as part of the research conducted for this project. This paper is based on a comparative literature review of existing studies of gender representation in physics textbooks. The analyzed data came from two main articles plus five auxiliary articles, three textbooks, and two scientific journals, with a focus on Poland, Africa, the USA, and Spain due to the relevance and extensiveness of the cultural context of science. The following categories were identified: stereotypes and female characteristics; naming or titular representation; images or photos; text citations or female examples; and authorship or editors. The findings showed that women are underrepresented in science and, more specifically, in physics, engineering, and computer science. Furthermore, it is undeniable that science textbooks are full of stereotypes and fail to represent both genders equally since the results show that out of all the categories, only in one (authorship and editing) do women have a higher percentage. This literature review concludes that the impact of science textbooks, particularly those on physics, should be given special emphasis to ensure gender parity. Deep and detailed methodologies and strategies are needed, such as creating neutral environments, providing more opportunities for women physicists, encouraging young girls to pursue a career in STEM, etc.

Fifth Conference of Nordic Network for Diversity in Physics (24-May 25, 2023)